Afghanistan: Explosion Outside Russian Embassy Kills Two Embassy Staff, Causes 15-20 Casualties

Besides the two embassy staff, there are around 15-20 other casualties in the explosion outside Russian embassy, according to a report.

The blast at the Russian embassy undermines the Taliban's assurance of security (Representative photo)

An explosion outside the Embassy of Russia in Afghan capital Kabul on Monday killed two embassy staff, according to the Russian government.

"Two members of the diplomatic mission were killed and there are also victims among Afghan citizens," said the Russian Foreign Ministry in a tweet.

However, the Russian government did not name or announce the designation of the embassy staff killed in the explosion. 

Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti reported earlier, citing anonymous sources, that the explosion caused 15-20 casualties, without specifying if it meant dead or wounded or both. It reported that the blast occurred when a Russian diplomat came out to the people queuing outside to call out the names of the candidates for a visa.

The Taliban did not immediately confirm the explosion or give any casualty figures.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion, the latest to strike the country in the year since the Taliban seized power.

The Monday's explosion raises serious questions about the state of affairs in the Taliban as an explosion at an embassy is a serious breach of security. Embassies and diplmatic missions are among the best-secures enclaves of national capitals across the world and an attack on embassy undermines the Taliban's hold over the country.

Faran Jeffery, Deputy Director of think tank Islamic Theology of Counter Terrorism, said on Twitter that the bombing sends two messages.

"One, Taliban cannot even secure Kabul on their own, let alone rest of the country. Two, any foreign country daydreaming about having its own little separate paradise in Afghanistan should think twice," said Jeffrey.

Russia is among the few countries to have kept its embassy functional in Kabul after tha Taliban takeover of the country. Though it has not recognised the Taliban regime, it is in touch with its officials. 

This is the latest bombing in Afghanistan, which closely follows a bombing in Herat on Friday in which at least 18 people were killed, including a top pro-Taliban cleric. 

While no one claimed responsibility for the Monday's blast, The terrorist group ISIS affiliate ISIS-K is engaged in a conflict with the Taliban as its opposed to the Taliban's vision of the country. While the ISIS believes in a worldwide Islamic state dubbed a Caliphate, the Taliban has only nationwide ambitions for Afghanistan. 

The ISIS-K has stepped up attacks against the Taliban and civilians since the Taliban took over the country last year as US and NATO troops were in the final stages of their withdrawal.

Unlike Al Qaeda, with which the Taliban has been close, most recently shown by the presence of its former chief Al Zawahiri in Kabul, the Taliban has often fought with ISIS.

"ISIS-K [an affiliate of ISIS] subscribes to the Jihadi-Salafism ideology — and plays up the ‘purity’ of its anti-idolatry credentials. The Taliban, on the other hand, subscribe to an alternative Sunni Islamic sectarian school, the Hanafi madhhab, which ISIS-K regards as deficient. The two groups also differ over the role of nationalism. ISIS-K fiercely rejects it, which runs counter to the Afghan Taliban’s aims of ruling over Afghanistan," explains think tank Wilson Center.

(With AP inputs)